June 10, 2010
Birthdays make you, well, older. It’s nothing to celebrate about. A birthday run however is another matter. The day I turned a year older was a Thursday. It meant waking up at 3 A.M. in time for my 4AM track workout at the Cebu City Sports Center. The quota was 800mx8 at 4 minutes 45 seconds with 400m recovery jog in between. No free passes even on your big day.
There was a time when birthdays for me meant thoughts of the macabre -- ageing equals inching ever closer to death, less and less time to accomplish things on my to-do list. After taking up running, moving up the age-bracket now means better chances of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. When it comes to running and aging, I look up to Constantina Dita, who at 38 so unexpectedly won the Olympic women’s marathon in Beijing making her not just the oldest Olympic marathon champion ever, male or female, but the oldest Olympic marathon medalist.
Although the lines around my eyes and the uneven skintone on my face betray the real age of my world-weary heart, I run around the wet track like a 20-year-old college girl -- strong, free, pretty in my short running skirt and more importantly, ever hopeful of getting faster and stronger to run the dream races on my list.
Whether on the road or on the track, running is truly the best part of any day – birthday or not. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in all this time I’ve spent on the road it is that unlike love, running and cooking are two of the very few things in life where genuine effort is truly directly proportional to success and personal reward. Know the recipe by heart, don’t scrimp on ingredients and add a healthy dash of zeal, then you can whip up any dish like a pro. Run smart, train diligently and watch what you eat and drink – and I guarantee you you’ll become a better runner. If only, the rest of the real world could be that simple and easy.